Australia is one of many nations now in the grip of the Coronavirus outbreak that is threatening to become a major global pandemic.
At least 5 people have been diagnosed in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast and many hundreds have been quarantined. While Australian scientists join the global effort to develop a vaccine.
So where and why did this global epidemic start?
Reports say authorities have pinpointed a ‘wet’ food market in Wuhan that sold an extraordinary array of live animals .
The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan was eventually shuttered on January 1 2020. Too little too late, after it was believed to be the starting point for the outbreak of 2019-nCov, also known as the Wuhan virus.
The market place sold a variety of live animals, including dogs, kangaroos, peacocks, otters, camels, and allegedly even koalas, according to the South China Morning Post.
Other devestating viral pandemics, including H7N9 and H5N9 Bird flu were likely transmitted to humans via direct contact with infected poultry from Chinese markets.. The diseases killed a collective 1,000 people globally.
In the 2000s, SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, killed over 700 people and is believed to have mutated while spreading through the wet animal markets.
Whilst there is no way at this stage to know which animal was responsible for the human transmission, one report suggests bats are the likely culprit.
According to a NYTimes article, experts are starting to trace the outbreak to bats.
Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, who has been working in China for 15 years studying diseases that jump from animals to people, said, “We don’t know the source yet, but there’s pretty strong evidence that this is a bat origin coronavirus.” He said, “It’s probably going to be the Chinese horseshoe bat,” a common species that weighs up to an ounce.
Bats have the capability of carrying many diseases that do not actually have an impact on their health.
The tolerance bats show to many viruses, including rabies and ebola, exceeds that of any other animal we know of.
Their ability to exist with virus of all kinds can have devastating consequences for humans. Especially in countries where bats are common, like Africa, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
So why would someone pick up a bat, let alone touch one or, what appears to be happening in China – eat one?
Outrage as TikTok video shows blogger eating bat:
Video emerged earlier in 2020, showing a young Chinese woman eating a bat, according to news.com.au
The shocking video shows the Chinese blogger eating the bat like it was a chicken.
A man in the background says in Chinese, “Eat the meat! (Don’t) eat the skin” and “(You) should eat the meat on its back.”
The graphic footage was circulating on Twitter in January 2020.
Later it emerged the video was from blogger Wang Mengyun, a Chinese travel TV presenter.
In a post shared on her website, she says she has been inundated with abuse.
“I had no idea during filming that there was such a virus. I only learned about it recently,” she said.
“I didn’t know that bats are a primary carrier of viruses. I really did not check the information or explain its dangerous nature.”
Warning Disturbing Footage of a bat at a restaurant in China.
While the incident is not related to the current outbreak, it shows the risks of the disturbing trade in various animals, especially those carrying many dangerous disease.
Whatever the case, perhaps its time for people in China and elsewhere to stop eating bats and other animals, rare and endangered, that shouldn’t ever be consumed?
More Sydney News
Coronavirus spreading fast:
The oronavirus is spreading fast across China with thousands of confirmed cases. Global economic disruption is starting to take a toll, with Chinese economic activity starting to halt in many areas, airlines cancelling flights and tourism taking a hit.
Ryan is Contributing Editor